POPULATION: Artifacts: 7” EP

Contrary to what is apparently popular belief, and all too often seems common practice in the modern era, punks in the earliest periods didn’t limit their exposure and efforts to these preconceived, rigid pigeonholes—and those who did usually moved on in short order to whatever next bullshit trend was just up the road. Doesn’t take much searchin’ to find flyers or adverts with what would today be inconceivable gig lineups: a Black Flag, Social Distortion, and Top Jimmy & The Rhythm Pigs bill was just as prone to occur as the bassist for über-thrashers Wasted Youth moonlighting with tribal desert-tinged artpunk merchants SavageRepublic. Those with any sense knew, and know, to expand their tastes, not be afraid to step outside of their comfort zones and strive to find new ways to raise a ruckus. What you have here is some Chicago hardcore cats doin’ just that, in this case tradin’ in 1-2-1-2 hyper-speed drum beats for loping bass lines and more atmospheric climes. Their influences are right up front—post-punk, early U.S. death rock, U.K. goth, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division—but they deliver three solid tunes that stand on their own merits, retaining some punk edge amidst slower, dance-friendly beats that don’t rely on barre chord barrages. This is a great opening salvo as far as debut releases go, and here’s hoping a full-length isn’t too far off in the distance.

 –jimmy (BLVD)